5km travel restriction slammed as 'grossly unfair on rural counties like Mayo'

A former government minister has slammed the 5km travel restriction under Level 5 as 'grossly unfair on rural counties like Mayo'.

Fine Gael Deputy Michael Ring said while the rule was fine for Dublin he is convinced it will lead to hardship in rural communities throughout Ireland where social isolation in a major concern.

Deputy Michael Ring. PHOTO: ALISON LAREDO

He hit out: "I am not very happy about it. The government has brought in rules on the basis of advice from NPHET and the HSE and now the government want to prosecute people who are found to have breached the 5km. rule on the basis of that advice.

"Yet our health authorities are not living up to the responsibilities placed in them in terms of contact tracing and other key matters in tackling the spread of the virus.

"People who have had Covid tests are being left seven or eight days awaiting their results. That's not good enough.

"I have been inundated with complaints by people so frustrated and disillusioned over what's going on.

"It's not fair on them and a second lockdown, this time for six weeks, is particularly cruel on our elderly at this time of year.

"It will unquestionably lead to depression and other mental health issues."

The Westport-based representative said he will be lodging an appeal to the Cabinet to reverse the 5km travel restriction in rural counties as a matter of urgency.

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